Illegals in Ireland, Irish illegals: Diaspora nation as racial state
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Citation:Ronit Lentin `Illegals in Ireland, Irish illegals: Diaspora nation as racial state? in Irish Political Studies, 22, (4), 2007, pp 433-453
This article examines the discursive political reformulation of Ireland as 'diaspora nation', which, while explaining the narrowing of citizenship entitlement of non-citizen migrants resident in Ireland in the wake of the 2004 Citizenship Referendum, paradoxically also makes sense of the juxtaposition of 'entitled' Irish illegals in the US with 'unentitled' illegal immigrants in Ireland. It uses social and political theory - Goldberg's formulation of modern nation-states as racial states, Foucault's theorisation of biopolitics, and Agamben's positing of 'states of exception' and of the position of those people falling outside the remit of citizenship as 'bare life', to discuss the racialisation of immigration in twenty-first century Ireland. The article uses the political juxtaposition of the 2006 hunger strike by a group of Afghan asylum seekers, deemed illegal by the Irish immigration regime, with Irish illegal immigrants in the US, considered entitled to American citizenship, to illustrate Ireland's discursive shift to a 'diaspora nation' which arguably led to the 2004 Citizenship Referendum.
Series/Report no:Irish Political Studies